3 men sentenced for killing protected hawks, owls

3 men sentenced for killing protected hawks, owls

COLUMBIA, SC (AP) - A Jasper County hunting preserve is paying $250,000 in restitution after three of its employees pleaded guilty to illegally trapping and killing hawks and owls to improve quail hunting on the property.

U.S. Attorney Bill Nettles announced Friday that Mackay Point Plantation's general manager, hunting dog trainer and heavy equipment handler have been sentenced to six months of probation, community service, and a one-year ban on trapping. The $250,000 to be paid by the private plantation will be divided among local animal charities.

Nettles says the three workers placed dozens of baited, steel traps on the property to kill red-tail hawks and great horned owls, which eat quail. The protected birds cannot be killed without a permit.

Nettles says there is no evidence that the plantation's owners were involved.

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